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Designing output-power-optimized thermoelectric generators via analytic and finite element method modelling

: Assion, F.; Fischer, C.; Schönhof, M.; Hilleringmann, U.; Hedayat, C.


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-; IEEE Industrial Electronics Society -IES-:
IEEE International Conference on Industrial Technology, ICIT 2013. Vol.2 : Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, 25 - 28 February 2013
New York, NY: IEEE, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4673-4569-9
ISBN: 978-1-4673-4567-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-4673-4568-2 (Online)
International Conference on Industrial Technology (ICIT) <2013, Cape Town>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

Thermoelectric generators (TEG) are capable of transforming waste heat directly into electric power. They are very reliable and do not need any kind of maintenance at all, which makes them interesting for a wide range of applications. To design specific TEG for different purposes a fast and cheap tool is needed to optimize the geometric structure based on the used materials and boundary conditions. Therefore, we tested a commercial finite element method simulation versus a self-implemented analytic calculation and compared them with real measurements. The results of the two simulations types were in good agreement to each other and near by the measured value. Beside the length of the thermocouple as a well-known design parameter, two more relevant parameters have been proposed. The thermal conduction of the hot/cold side and the geometrical matching of the n/p-doped thermoelectric material have a great influence on the device performance.